July 18, 2012
A transit advocacy group gave the Toronto Transit Commission bad grades for its system’s infrastructure on Wednesday, demanding service improvements and a tax plan similar to those promoted in the recent OneCity strategy.
TTCRiders released its first-ever report card on the Toronto Transit Commission, panning the system for failing riders on the topics of affordability, accessibility and scope. The report demanded the TTC refocus itself on building a more affordable and efficient system.
“Service levels that connect our neighbourhoods are worsening,” TTCRiders spokesman Franz Hartmann told a press conference on Wednesday “The TTC must, at minimum, increase service levels to match ridership growth. Not doing so means paying more for less.”
While the report card did not issue letter grades, it suggests the TTC is “derailed” on providing affordable fares and “delayed” on making public transit fully accessible.
Frequency of service was also given a poor mark, while the TTCRiders report suggests the transit commission needs to do a better job promoting the environmental sustainability of public transit.
According to the report card, the TTC was “on track” in building a modern, fast transit system to all corners of the city – pointing to recent conversations about investing tax dollars into transit expansion.
The debate in question regarded a property tax increase introduced as part of the OneCity Transit plan introduced by TTC Chair Karen Stintz in June.
The plan recommended raising property taxes in order to bring in as much as $272 million annually, which would be invested directly into transit expansion.
The OneCity strategy faced significant objections after its release and the tax portion of the plan was stripped before it was discussed at city council last week.
Hartmann said the TTC needed to expand its scope and build transit lines into disconnected areas of the city, pointing to the OneCity plan as a “great point of departure for discussion.”
He said the best way to pay for the expansion would be taxes specifically directed into transit projects.
“Ultimately it is going to come from Torontonians, because they are the ones that are going to benefit from this,” meaning expanded transit means lower road congestion and less pollution.
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